The purchasing patterns of online consumers have been exposed by the Australian Retailers Association as it steps up the fight against lost sales to overseas websites.Online shopping, which is rapidly being adopted by Australian consumers and sending the likes of Harvey Norman and Myers into a frenzy of competition with their overseas counterparts, is uncovering surprising shopping habits that retailers need to be aware of, says the ARA.

As expected, online book purchasing is by far the strongest category for e-transactions, with more than 30 percent of all books bought online.

Overseas websites gain large dollar purchases up to $1,000, but don’t do so well on smaller purchases, the attendees at the seminar heard, and speciality retailers such as cycle and bike shops gain most online traction from customers living far from bricks and mortar retail shops.

The seminar also heard that the next big trend in online buying might be furniture sales, as people who shop online are currently more than three times likely to buy furniture from a bricks and mortar store.

More than 150 retailers gathered at the seminar, including e-commerce experts such as Quantium, Google and Deals Direct, to figure out how to prevent the Aussie dollar from going overseas.

However, Quantium director Tony Davis said Australian retailers were losing sales to overseas websites regardless of the strength of the Australian dollar.

Australian Sporting Goods Association executive director Brad Kitschke said while industry associations have been advocating for a tax neutral competitive playing field for Australian traders, that is not the sole issue that needs to be addressed.

 

He urged retailers to engage in the online space and in e-tail as online shopping had become an increasing tendency for consumers across all demographics, and had moved beyond early adopters.

Yesterday Target announced it was taking its operation online with plans to extend into lines it currently does not cover. 

And in spite of all the noise made by leading retailers including Myer, Harvey Norman and Just Group over a tax neutral playing field, retailers are now moving to the web in droves to drum up sales in a flat retail trading environment. 

The ARA is  planning to address topics such as logistics and supply chain, m-commerce, social media and video in retail.
 
 A series of Engage in E-tail seminars is planned for roll out in 2011.

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